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What’s In Season – February – Forced Rhubarb

Shopping Basket – Create These Dishes

Mackerel with Roasted Rhubarb

  • Forced Pink Rhubarb – 2452
  • Hot Smoked Mackerel – 13681
  • Capers – 8323

Spiced Rhubarb Crumble

  • Forced Pink Rhubarb – 2452
  • Ground Star Anise – 8401
  • Ground Ginger – 8423
  • Ground Cinnamon – 8407
  • Oranges – Range
  • Caster Sugar – 8903
  • Plain Flour – 8698
  • Butter – Range
  • Oats – 8586
  • Demerara Sugar – 8907


  • Crumble Mix – 5703

Hot Rhubarb Souffle

Forget everything you thought you knew about rhubarb, be it those sloppy school desserts, the only thing left to put on your porridge or the disappointment of biting into what you thought was an apple crumble.

Modern cooking has been a friend to rhubarb, with restaurants, food producers and chefs utilising its crunchy texture and sweet yet distinctively tart and sour taste to create all manner of delicious recipes; from chutneys, desserts and jams to stunning main courses and even gins.

Forced rhubarb, which is traditionally grown in Yorkshire offers a significantly sweeter and more delicate flavour in comparison to main crop rhubarb, with its distinguishing blood-red skin, white flesh and yellow leaves.

Find out more about the origins of this unique vegetable (yes, vegetable), the unusual traditional methods used to cultivate it and stunning dishes you can make with it.

Origins of Forced Rhubarb

Forced rhubarb is said to have been first cultivated in Yorkshire way back in 1877, where the vegetable would begin its life in the field, before being moved to ‘forcing sheds’ and starved of light to promote rapid and unusual growth, often candles would be lit in place of sunlight – an extremely labour intensive method of cultivation.

In the years that followed, West Yorkshire became responsible for growing 90% of the world’s forced rhubarb, owing to the wet and cold winters being optimal for the vegetable to grow.

In 2010, ‘Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb’ was awarded Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and to this day, the ‘Yorkshire Triangle’ is world renowned for its traditional cultivation of the veg.

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Methods of Cooking Forced Rhubarb

Before preparing rhubarb for any method of cooking, ensure that the stems are well washed and trimmed, take care to remove any leaves that may have been left on. There is no need to peel rhubarb before preparation.

Roasting – Roasting forced rhubarb releases all the flavours it has to offer, be sure to cook on tin foil to keep the juice. For best results sprinkle with sugar and cook at 180c for around 25 minutes or until the stems are soft.

Poaching – Poaching rhubarb is a method of cooking favoured by chefs, allowing the stems to keep their shape and retain flavour. For best results, cut down rhubarb stems into batons of around 5cm and submerge in boiling water with sugar before serving immediately.

Raw – Due to its pleasant bite and flavour, rhubarb can be eaten raw in the same fashion as carrot, cucumber and celery sticks are. Historically, rhubarb sticks were dipped in sugar and enjoyed raw, this is said to have been the inspiration behind sherbet dib dabs.

When’s The Best time to Buy Forced Rhubarb?

Running from just January to March, the window for getting the best of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb is tight and with seldom other ingredients of its exotic nature on offer, chefs, restaurants and supermarkets will be making the most of it’s short and sweet UK season.

Due to other cultivators around the world, forced rhubarb is available most of the year, but you can expect to pay a higher price.

Our Favourite Forced Rhubarb Recipes

Mackerel with Roasted Rhubarb

Mackerel and rhubarb are a food couple to be envied, with the tartness of the rhubarb complimenting the mackerels oily and salty taste to create a simple and delicious combination.

  1. Preheat your oven to 200c and slice your rhubarb into batons of around 10 – 15cm.
  2. Place in a roasting tin with a splash of water and sprinkling of brown sugar.
  3. Roast until soft and allow to cool, keep the juice.
  4. Cook your mackerel in a well-oiled pan with capers.
  5. Before your mackerel is cooked right through, add the rhubarb and any juice saved from the roasting process.
  6. Season to taste and serve.


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Spiced Rhubarb Crumble

Crumble is perhaps the best use of any seasonal fruit (or veg in this case), filled with spices to make it a warming dish for any cold evening:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c.
  2. Gently cook rhubarb in a pan with ground star anise, ginger, cinnamon, orange zest and caster sugar.
  3. Once rhubarb is soft and infused with the other ingredients, transfer to a baking tray.
  4. Top the rhubarb with your crumble mix and cook for 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown, serve with custard or cream.


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Hot Rhubarb Souffle

This delicious recipe was created by our in-house development chef Steve Shore, combining ginger and rhubarb in many different forms to create a dessert that is truly show-stopping. You can find the full recipe here.

Forced Rhubarb Souffle - Ingredients Image 3 - Arthur David

Wholesale Rhubarb from Arthur David

At Arthur David, we believe in providing choice for our customers, which is why forced pink rhubarb is just one of the hundreds of fresh vegetables, fruits and ingredients we offer.

For more information about our range of seasonal ingredients, call one of our representatives today on 0330 333 4441 or use the live chat to discuss your individual requirements.

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Forced Rhubarb Souffle - Ingredients Image 3 - Arthur David

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